Ministers Approve Digitalized Textbooks Bill
A ministerial committee decided Sunday to give the go-ahead to a proposal that would speed up the digitalization of Israel's schools. The proposed law, submitted by MK Einat Wilf (Independence) would require textbook creators to provide students with the option of a digital copy identical to the printed copy.
Wilf is aiming to ease the transition from traditional textbooks to digitalized books without forcing parents to invest additional money in the project.
“This proposal would not require any child or parent to buy digital books, but rather would simply make it possible to do so, as an alternative,” MK Wilf explained. “The assumption is that within a few years, the overwhelming majority of parents and students will prefer this option.”
Digitalized books have several advantages, she said. They cost less, and can be updated with far greater ease. In addition, she argued, as publishers learn to make use of the new medium they can add features unique to digital learning that would enhance the learning process.
Wilf praised the decision to approve the bill for an initial vote. “The passage of the bill in a preliminary vote sends an important message to textbook publishers that they need to prepare as soon as possible to provide electronic alternatives to the books,” she said.
Wilf said she had received widespread support for her proposal among parents of school children in general, and among parents of children with special needs, such as those who require Braille textbooks, in particular. Currently, children who require special textbooks are often required to wait for months before the books they need become available in a version they can use, she said.